Number of books read in 2013: 30
Complete list of books read in 2013 can be found here.
Number of books read since last "reading life review" post: 6
■ Henry VIII (William Shakespeare (1613); Folger ed. 2007. 352 pages. Drama.) With the Misses. Henry VIII will run April 30 through June 16 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, so we had planned to read the play in April ever since CST's 2012/2013 season was announced. But we pushed it a wee bit ahead on our planner when we received an invitation to attend a rehearsal held earlier this month. (I know, right? Squeeeeee!) Before the rehearsal, we were treated to a discussion hosted by Bob Mason and Chris Plevin, during which we learned how the incomparable Barbara Gaines distilled from the play three key relationships, eschewing pageantry for intimacy; how her vision is being interpreted by the production team; and even how CST productions, including this one, are cast. We then headed to the main theater. The actors had only just that afternoon moved from their initial rehearsal space to the stage and were reworking the blocking in Katherine of Aragon's (Ora Jones) divorce trial scene. After rehearsal concluded, director Gaines indulged participants in a Q&A. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.
(Related aside: This month, we also attended an open rehearsal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Ricardo Muti. The program included a piano concerto featuring Maurizio Pollini. I know, I know, right? Again, squeeeee!)
■ The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald; 1925/1980. 182 pages. Fiction.) With the Misses, in anticipation of the film. This was a reread for me, and I found the prose even more beautiful this go-'round.
Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.p. 58
Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest.p. 59
"Suppose you meet somebody just as careless as yourself?"p. 81
"I hope I never will," she answered. "I hate careless people. That's why I like you."
A phrase began to beat in my ears with a heady sort of excitement: "There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired."p. 97
It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.p. 131
Angry as I was, as we all were, I was tempted to laugh whenever he opened his mouth. The transition from libertine to prig was so complete.p. 165
At first I was surprised and confused; then, as he lay in his house and didn't move or breathe or speak, hour upon hour, it grew upon me that I was responsible, because no one else was interested -- interested, I mean, with that intense personal interest to which every one has some vague right at the end.■ Attachments (Rainbow Rowell; 2011. 336 pages. Fiction.) Light, sweet, well-written. More here.
■ Reconstructing Amelia (Kimberly McCreight; 2013. 400 pages. Fiction.) A bona fide page-turner. Smart and entertaining. EW's review can be found here.
■ The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers (Margaret George; 1998. 960 pages. Fiction.) This probably counts as my "chunkster" this year. Phew. It was a little... plodding, but I enjoy the subject and so stuck with it.
■ Picasso and Chicago: 100 Years, 100 Works (Stephanie D'Alessandro; 2013. 112 pages. Non-fiction.) In anticipation of our trip to see the exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Related entry here. Also, some "lightweight" reading on the artist:
∙ And Picasso Painted Guernica (Alain Serres; 2013. 52 pages. Juvenile non-fiction.)
∙ Pablo Picasso (Artists in Their Time) (Kate Scarborough; 2002. 46 pages. Juvenile non-fiction.)
∙ Picasso: Soul on Fire (Rick Jacobson; 2011. 32 pages. Non-fiction.)